Sunday, 5 July 2009
The Championships, Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is generally considered the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, and the only one still played on grass courts.
The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and early July, culminating with the gentlemen's singles final, scheduled for the second Sunday. Each year, five major events are contested, as well as four junior events and four invitational events.
The hard court Australian Open and clay court French Open precede Wimbledon. The hard court U.S. Open follows. The men's grass court Queen's Club Championships also in London and the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany are popular warm up tournaments for Wimbledon, with tournaments at Birmingham and Eastbourne for women.
Wimbledon traditions include the eating of strawberries and cream, royal patronage, and a strict dress code for competitors. In 2009, Wimbledon's Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to ensure against the possibility of rain delays interrupting Centre Court matches during the tournament.